Jessica Taylor | WYPR

Jessica Taylor

Jessica Taylor is the lead digital political reporter for NPR. Based in Washington, D.C., she covers the 2016 elections and national politics for NPR digital.

Before joining NPR in May 2015, Taylor was the campaign editor for The Hill newspaper where she oversaw the newspaper's 2014 midterm coverage, managed a team of political reporters and wrote her own biweekly column.

Prior to The Hill, Taylor was a writer and producer for MSNBC's "The Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd" and a contributor to the NBC News Political Unit. She covered and reported on the 2012 election as a senior analyst for The Rothenberg Gonzales Political Report. Her quotes have appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, as well as several state and regional newspapers across the country. Taylor has also appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, CNN and other local network affiliates.

On Election Night 2012, Jessica served as an off-air analyst for CBS News in New York, advising producers and reporters on House and Senate races.

Previously, Jessica was editor of National Journal's "House Race Hotline" and Assistant Editor for POLITICO during the 2010 midterms. She began her career in Washington as the research director for The Almanac of American Politics.

A native of Elizabethton, Tenn., she is a graduate of Furman University in Greenville, S.C. and now lives in Alexandria, Va.

"Unprecedented" is a term that was thrown around a lot to describe the crazy 2016 presidential election. Now, the Alabama Senate race may be giving that campaign a run for its money.

For some Alabama voters, supporting abortion rights may be a sin worse than some of the sexual misdeeds Alabama GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore has been accused of — allegations Moore has denied.

That's the conundrum facing the state's conservative, deeply religious electorate: Embrace Democrat Doug Jones despite his liberal stance on abortion and other social issues or vote for Moore anyway even if they believe there is some truth to the sexual assault allegations against him.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., is planning to take his crusade against President Trump's tendency to play fast and loose with the truth to the Senate floor.

The retiring lawmaker told Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep he is planning a series of speeches about the critical importance of facts and truth to American democracy. Flake continues to be one of the few GOP legislators to vigorously speak out against Trump.

Most Americans don't want their family members to pass along their political opinions while passing the turkey and dressing this Thanksgiving.

According to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll, 58 percent of people celebrating the holiday are dreading having to talk politics around the dinner table. Just 31 percent said they were eager to discuss the latest news with their family and friends, while 11 percent are unsure.

When Donald Trump announced he would be running for president, he didn't seem like the obvious candidate for evangelical voters, given his multiple divorces, use of crass language and one-time admission that he had never asked God for forgiveness.

Nonetheless, he did manage to coalesce 81 percent of white evangelical voters behind him in November.

Updated at 1:45 p.m. ET

Congress has approved a joint budget resolution, a critical step to paving the way for major tax legislation later this year.

The Senate-approved resolution passed the House narrowly on Thursday, 216-212, with 20 Republicans voting no and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., even having to cast a rare vote to help ensure its passage.

Updated at 3:37 p.m. ET

President Trump was met by a protester who threw Russian flags at him and chanted "Trump is treason!" as he arrived on Capitol Hill Tuesday to urge Senate Republicans to pass tax cuts.

While the president was entering the weekly GOP lunch on Capitol Hill, escorted by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., a man appeared to have gotten inside the press scrum, throwing the small flags that had the word "TRUMP" emblazoned in gold.

Updated at 7 p.m. ET

White House chief of staff John Kelly — a retired Marine general whose own son died in Afghanistan — appeared at the White House press briefing on Thursday, attempting to quell the controversy around a phone call President Trump made to a grieving military widow.

Updated at 7:18 p.m. ET

Steve Bannon came to the annual Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., on Saturday to detail the holy war he intends to wage against Republicans at the ballot box in next year's midterm elections.

"This is not my war. This is our war. And y'all didn't start it. The establishment started it," President Trump's controversial former chief strategist told the rapt crowd of Christian conservatives. "But I will tell you one thing — you all are going to finish it."

Updated at 5:38 p.m. ET

President Trump spoke to one of the most faithful blocs of his base on Friday, telling attendees of this year's Values Voter Summit that in America "we don't worship government, we worship God."

White House chief of staff John Kelly made an unusual appearance at Thursday's daily press briefing to clear up a few things: He isn't going anywhere, he is not frustrated by President Trump's use of Twitter and he is not trying to micromanage the president.

"Although I read it all the time, pretty consistently, I'm not quitting today," Kelly said. "I don't believe — and I just talked to the president — I don't believe that I'm being fired today. And I'm not so frustrated in this job that I'm thinking of leaving."

Updated at 5:22 p.m. ET

President Trump is nominating Kirstjen Nielsen to be the next homeland security secretary, the White House announced Wednesday.

Nielsen would succeed now-White House chief of staff John Kelly in the position if confirmed by the Senate. She currently serves as Kelly's principal deputy chief of staff and was also his chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., announced on Tuesday she will run for Senate in Tennessee — and took a shot at the current Republican leadership in her announcement video.

The partisan split in America is the highest it has been in two decades, with Republicans and Democrats holding vastly disparate views on race, immigration and the role of government, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center.

Pew has been measuring attitudes on policy issues and political values going back to 1994, and its latest check-in finds — perhaps unsurprisingly — that Americans are more divided than ever.

Updated at 8:24 p.m. ET

President Trump traveled Tuesday to devastated Puerto Rico following his administration's maligned response to Hurricane Maria. But as soon as he stepped off the plane, the president was in a self-congratulatory mood.

In a hurricane briefing Trump praised his Cabinet, contrasted the devastation with "a real catastrophe like [Hurricane] Katrina," threw in an aside about how much Puerto Rico recovery was costing the U.S., and later was filmed throwing paper towels into a crowd as part of efforts to distribute supplies.

Roy Moore's GOP runoff win in Alabama on Tuesday has only emboldened the anti-establishment wing of the party in its belief that it can knock off other incumbent senators in next year's midterm primaries.

"We're going to war," former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon told Politico this week. "This is not a pillow fight, this is a fight fight."

After winning Tuesday night's Alabama GOP Senate primary runoff, Roy Moore is one step closer to the United States Senate. The anti-establishment conservative could give Republican leaders plenty of headaches if he wins the general election in December.

President Trump's brand faces a major test on Tuesday in the Alabama Republican Senate primary runoff.

His preferred candidate is Luther Strange, the incumbent senator who has consistently trailed in the polls to firebrand conservative Roy Moore, a former state Supreme Court justice.

Trump was just in Alabama stumping for Strange on Friday, where he landed himself in controversy, calling for the firing of NFL players who don't stand for the national anthem.

Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET

Democratic congressional leaders announced Wednesday that they had reached a deal with President Trump in an Oval Office meeting to pass hurricane relief funding this week, along with measures to push off pressing fiscal deadlines to December — over the apparent objections of Republican leaders.

Updated at 11:58 a.m. ET

With President Trump's announcement on Tuesday that his administration is ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the White House made clear it wants a legislative solution from Congress to protect the roughly 800,000 "DREAMers," who came to the U.S. illegally as children and now could face the possibility of deportation.

When President Trump traveled to Missouri on Wednesday to make his pitch for tax code overhaul, it was a more conventional — even conciliatory — chief executive who showed up.

Trump expressed optimism that he could work with the legislative branch to pass something meaningful — although as NPR's Scott Horsley noted, the president offered scant specifics about what that legislation would be.

Updated at 7:04 p.m. ET

Vice President Pence on Wednesday declined to denounce or distance himself from President Trump's controversial remarks the day before that "there's blame on both sides" for recent violent clashes in Charlottesville, Va., between white supremacist groups and counterprotesters.

Updated at 7:20 p.m. ET

Almost 48 hours after violence engulfed Charlottesville, Va., President Trump called out white nationalist groups by name. Trump's remarks on Monday followed criticism that his initial statement about the clash of protesters did not condemn racist groups specifically.

Updated Aug. 11 at 6:45 p.m. ET

President Trump said Thursday that he was "very thankful" that Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered the expulsion of hundreds of U.S. diplomats from the country in response to sanctions — because the administration needs to cut the State Department's budget anyway.

Updated on Aug. 10 at 4 p.m. ET

President Trump is continuing to voice his frustration with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, tweeting on Thursday that the Kentucky Republican should "get back to work" after last month's failure to pass a health care alternative to the Affordable Care Act.

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake wrote his new book Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return to Principle in secret, not even telling his closest political advisers about his plans until it was ready. And given the political test he'll face over the coming year, it isn't hard to see why.

Updated at 8:30 p.m. ET

Special counsel Robert Mueller is using a grand jury in Washington, D.C., in connection with his investigation into Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election and into possible collusion between Russia and top aides to the Trump campaign, a source with knowledge of the investigation confirms to NPR's Peter Overby. The source did not want to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.

The Senate has easily confirmed Christopher Wray to be the next FBI director, a position he assumes after former Director James Comey was ousted by President Trump in May.

The 50-year-old former Justice Department lawyer was approved by a 92-5 vote.

Wray was Trump's choice to lead the FBI after he decided to fire Comey — a controversial decision that led to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller to take over the bureau's investigation into Russian interference in last year's elections and possible collusion between top aides to the Trump campaign and Russia.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., plans to release an updated Republican health care bill on Thursday and is delaying the body's annual August recess by two weeks in an effort to generate momentum for the beleaguered legislation.

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